By Ana Grabova
Published 01 July 2012
(July-August 2012 Edition)
Stuart Braybrooke gives us the lowdown on two bands picked from Colchester’s thriving music scene.
Bio: Slow Life is an indie/folk act, consisting solely of multi-instrumentalist Dan Bowen, who has gained recognition with energetic live sets built on loops of layered guitar, melodic vocals and any other instrument that comes to hand. Inspiration for songs include cross-european adventures, protest movements, and socialist German football clubs. In the past Slow Life has supported the likes of Chris Helme (Seahorses) and Tom Hingley (Inspiral Carpets).
Track: Phineas (Taken from the EP Bear)
Review: The track opens into a space that could take us anywhere. The hook (which is super cool) comes in with purpose and falls away to deliver an intimate vocal and soothing drums. The guitars really take the lead on this track throughout, with the vocals acting more like another instrument adding tone and colour. There is a nice middle eight just after two minutes and another great solo acting as a bridge into the final chorus that really changes the energy and the focus of the track. I don’t know if this was a piece of music written in full or developed organically during the session, but for one person to have created something normally created by a four-(brain)-piece band this is highly impressive and very comfortable to listen to.
Bio: Merrick was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on 24th October 1966. She has lived in several parts of the United States, notably New Orleans, San Diego, and upstate New York. She moved to the London commuter-belt in 2006.
In 2011, Merrick committed herself to writing and sharing a rough-cut demo of a new song every day of the year, and achieved this aim. Merrick describes her music as ‘an Eclectic blend of Bluesy-Funk-Freestyle Soul.’ She became a case study of social media blogger, Matt Santi after amassing a following of several thousand people by micro-blogging about the daily sources of inspiration and challenges to the project while creating songs about everything from celebrity gossip to politics to the deepest needs and fears in the human psyche as potential material for a song.
Track: Spy Balloons
Review: This song was written for Graham Bowley from the New York Times newspaper. Graham said, via Twitter, “Thanks to @RhondasSongs for great song ‘Spy Balloons’ inspired partly I think by my NYT story from #Afghanistan. There is no doubt that the track is solely about the voice, which is charming, unique, smooth and soulful. You can hear the lazy southern accent swinging the track back and forth in a jazz/blues style with the drums used both for timing and to create the feel of Eastern influence. Small non musical effects add texture and a sense of realism. Hints of Bob Dylan creep in, but with a modern feel. Harsh words, spoken softly, hypnotise the listener right up to the end of the track.